Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

1/1/18, Clean Slate

Posted on January 1, 2018

Hi Everyone,

I hope that Christmas has been joyful and peaceful for you, and happened the way you wanted it to, with some happy surprises!!

Mine has been a family Christmas, which is how I like it, with my children around me, and I’ve been very lucky that my 5 younger children and their significant others all came home for Christmas, and my three older ones were nearby too. It’s been a lovely Christmas.

It’s a nostalgic time, when inevitably you think of Christmases of years past, when they were all here, living at home, we hadn’t lost anyone, and life was easier than we realized then. It’s easy to spot the blessings as you look to the past, and sometimes not as easy to recognize them in everyday life, while we’re all occupied with the business of daily living. The past seems infinitely precious now, but so is the present. I’m very grateful to have had my children with me this Christmas. And we can all heave a sigh of relief, the presents are all given out, the rushing around is all done. We pulled off the holidays for another year, and the mad rush that impacts all or most of us between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

And now inevitably we take stock of all that happened in our lives this year, as it draws to a close. I am very grateful for the many blessings of this year, which in retrospect outnumber the bumps—-and there are always bumps in all our lives. But the blessings were many and very sweet.

Now we have one last hurdle to get over, before we can close this year, and get on to a new year, with all its challenges and happy, exciting moments. New Year’s eve, it’s never been a night I love. I always thought that people tried too hard, and I’ve spent it giving parties for friends, dancing on some years, giving poker parties once I was alone (which was REALLY fun!!!), I have spent it romantically, and alone, and in recent years, I really don’t want to go out and party on New Year’s eve, or even give a party (I’ve done it with fancy food, and fast food—and the fast food and curly fries and burgers and corn dogs was actually more fun!!). For the last two years, I spent New Year’s Eve writing, and I really enjoy that. My kids have left after Christmas by then, and rather than looking back at the past wistfully in a quiet house, I’d rather be deeply engaged in a new book, all wrapped up in the characters and the lives I create for them. It’s fun for me, and is a great way to spend it. I don’t need to figure out who to spend it with, or what to wear, or risk my life on the highway in bad weather going somewhere. I stay cozily at home, writing. For now, anyway, it’s my favorite plan, and how I plan to spend it this year. And however you decide to spend it, with lots of friends, a few good ones, among strangers, or alone, I hope you have a great New Year’s Eve, doing what you like to do best.

And today is a new beginning, a brand new year, a clean slate. Whatever last year brought you, whether disappointing or fabulous, today we all get to clear the decks and start again, filled with hope and plans, wishes and dreams, promises to ourselves about what we will do better, or try not to do again. You could meet the person of your dreams, wind up in a new job or home by the end of the year, or get out of a bad situation, or improve an old one. You can do almost anything you want, and start fresh today. I love the idea of that. We are all brand new today.

So let’s look ahead together, at what this New Year may bring us. And my wish for you is that it will be The BEST year ever. The Best is yet to come. Happy New Year. Happy New Day…..I want it to be a great one for you, and for all of us….that’s my wish for you. Happy Clean Slate, as we leave the past behind us, and forge ahead.

Happy 2018 !!! and all my love, Danielle

5/1/17, “Against All Odds”

Posted on May 1, 2017

Hi Everyone,

Today is a special day, for a couple of reasons. I hope you’ve had a good week with lots of good things happening. I always love May Day, it was a wonderful holiday when I was a little girl, and I still love it as an adult. As I’ve mentioned to you before, in France (where May Day is Labor Day), the custom is to give those you care about (friends, family, or loves) a sprig of lily of the valley. It’s my favorite flower and the smell is heavenly!! And in Paris, on every street corner, vendors are selling sprigs of lily of the valley for people to give to friends or loved ones. And when you get a little sprig of lily of the valley from someone, it is supposed to bring you luck!! I always give a dinner party on May 1st, with close friends, and give each of them a little vase of lily of the valley to take home with them.

May 1st is particularly special to me because it’s also my son Nick’s birthday. The day always reminds me of all the wonderful birthday parties we had for him. An almost life size cake, shaped like a whole person, of his favorite singer at the time: Prince. (He was also Prince for Halloween when he was 5 or 6—-he had very advanced taste in music for his age, and later became a musician, singer, and composer. When he dressed up as Prince, he wore a black wig, boots, and wore a lavender and red lame sparkly disco outfit of mine, from my younger days!! One year we had a cake that was a life size cake version of his favorite skateboard. We went all out for birthdays and holidays!! He LOVED his birthdays!! So although it is always bittersweet that he is no longer here, it’s the anniversary of a happy day, and I invite 10 or 12 of my closest friends, and I celebrate him in my heart, and it’s nice being with friends on that night.

Tomorrow is going to be a special day too. My newest Book, “Against All Odds”, is coming out tomorrow. It’s about a widowed woman, single Mom of four adult children in their 20’s and 30’s—-and the disastrous relationships they get into, thinking that they can “beat the odds”. It’s hard or even impossible to beat the odds (someone wins the lottery, but no one I know!!)—-if it looks like it’s going to be a disaster, more than likely it will be. It’s about each of the four children’s relationships, and how challenging it is for parents to watch their kids make dangerous choices—-and there’s nothing you can do about it. The situations they get into are very varied, and how they face their challenges is exciting. I hope you love it, and maybe you can relate to it as a parent. We’ve all been there in one form or another, watching our kids grow up!! Have a GREAT week!!

love, Danielle

Filed Under Family, Kids, Paris, Writing | 4 Comments

3/6/17, Paris in the Spring

Posted on March 6, 2017

Hi Everyone,

I hope all is well with you. I have been writing nonstop lately, working on a new book, so I’m sorry if I was uncommunicative for a week or two as the writing got intense and the book heated up. When I’m writing, I can’t concentrate on anything else!!

Well, as the song says, I love Paris in the Spring…but it is pouring rain, and today there was even a hail storm, this is ridiculous!!! We need some flowers and sunshine by now after the winter!!!

I took a break from writing when I finished a big chunk of writing on Thursday—just in time for one of my daughters to spend three days with me, on her way to do a freelance fashion job in Greece, and it was wonderful to have time alone with one of my kids. We went shopping, had lunch and dinner out, stayed up late talking, and watched a favorite TV series (the new English one about Queen Victoria, which is a knockout, beautifully done!! I had seen it and love it, but watched part of it again with her.)

She’s one of my daughters who works in fashion, so we went to the Celine ready to wear fashion show today, —-in the pouring rain. It was held indoors at a tennis club. And as usual, the characters and ultra fashion-y outfits were in evidence in the audience. Also, the important power figures were very much present: Anna Wintour, the editor of Vogue, Hamish Bowles and Grace Coddington (who is a legend) also from Vogue, there were editors and buyers, some clients, Suzy Menkes, famous fashion journalist and a legend too. It was a great opportunity for people watching, as well as seeing what was on the runway. The show itself was very serious, with clothes for the fall, subdued colors, simple clothes, and many things my daughters loved (one of them saw it on the Internet in New York). It was, as always, a fun way to spend a rainy afternoon. And I’ll be seeing two more shows this week. I guess fashion is just a fun way for me to relax for a minute between books, and with three daughters in the business, I’m always interested in what’s happening in that world, and what the new styles are for the next season. Since I went to design school, for fashion design, I still love to keep up with it.

I had a great time writing for the last few weeks, I love it when I get plunged deep in the story, and forget everything else that’s going on—the way you feel when you read a book, and can totally escape whatever is happening in your life. I’m editing another book now, and working on the outline for the next one.

I hope that all is going well for you, and that you’re getting at least a hint of spring wherever you are. Have a great week!!

love, Danielle

10/3/16, Writing

Posted on October 3, 2016

Hi Everyone,

Well, that was a busy week. I hope yours was busy, in good ways.

I’ve been writing for the past week, which always feels great. Life is so unpredictable, you never know what to expect next. Good stuff, bad stuff, surprises of all kinds. And there is very little we can control in life. But when I sit down to write, the world fades, I know where the book is going, I’ve worked hard on the outline for months, and when anything spins out of control in the story, I can fix it immediately. In the book, I know who the characters and what’s going to happen. I’m the one who makes the decisions, and decides where the book is going to go. It’s a great feeling unraveling the story, getting involved with the characters in the book, until they seem real. I know what they would and wouldn’t do and I respect it. And if the book starts to veer off in some direction, I can correct it, fix it, rewrite it and bring it back. It’s an amazing feeling of control of the story. And the process of developing a book is an exciting one, and so familiar. I don’t care how I look, what I wear, and I just keep following the story.

So I’m busy writing which is always great for me!! I’ve been locked up in my office or a week. I miss being out when I’m all locked up. I miss my kids, and my friends. I miss going outside. But the only way I can write a story is to stick with it right to the end, with as few distractions as possible. So think a good thought for the book I’m working on, and I’ll be back to chat with you in greater depth next week.

all my love, Danielle

11/9/15, Facebook Chat coming up Wednesday!!!

Posted on November 9, 2015

Hi Everyone,

busy week last week for me, and a VERY exciting announcement today by my publisher: Starting next month, they are going to publish 6 of my books in hardcover every year, and 6 books in paperback (of books that were previously in hardcover). This is in response to readers asking for More, More, MORE!!! It’s a fantastic challenge to meet and so exciting for me. Since I work on several books a month, I can give you six new books a year!!! I hope you love them!! I will be working hard for you, and can’t wait!!!

How are you?? Doing well, I hope. And doing some things you enjoy. I have a sign in my office that says “Do more of what YOU want to do.” It’s a good reminder. I’m a ‘dutiful’ person and do a lot of the things I think I should do—-and not always the fun things I’d enjoy doing. We have to remember to put fun in our lives too.

This past week has been a busy one, LOTS of writing (in outline, first draft and editing form), seeing some friends, planning for the holidays, some Christmas shopping (Now that IS fun!!! I love shopping for myself and others—-I can have a good time anywhere, even in a hardware store!!)

It was one of my 2 country/3 city weeks, visiting my children, traveling 6,000 miles to do it. That’s a lot of airplanes, I use the time to watch movies, sleep, and catch up on reading!!!

I had a request recently to contribute to a psychiatric book about bi polar illness. My son Nick suffered from it, so I was pleased to add what I had to say on the subject, from a parent’s point of view. Hopefully it will help some parents, trying to support their child meet their challenges.

AND I am REALLY looking forward to our Facebook Chat this week on Wednesday November 11, at 2pm Eastern time. It’s a fantastic opportunity for me to answer you directly. Unfortunately, I can’t answer all the posts, but I type as fast as I can, so I answer as many as possible. It’s VERY exciting for me to be in direct contact with you. Forgive me if I don’t get to yours—–I really do my best to answer you. We receive about 2,000 posts in the time allotted, and typing really fast, I answer about 200. I am so grateful to you for reaching out and sharing your thoughts with me.

Holiday plans are shaping up. I’m looking forward to Thanksgiving and what I am ALWAYS grateful for is your loyalty to me and your kindness.

Have a great week, lots of love, Danielle

8/24/15, Whisper Thanks…

Posted on August 24, 2015

Hi Everyone,

I tackled a massive project recently: my desk. On the corner of my desk is a stacked “outbox”, where everything seems to wind up, bank information, literary contracts, birthday cards from my children, poems I’ve written, Christmas lists, and religious articles. Anything I’m not sure where to file, I put on the stack in my outbox, until it resembles the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and if anyone moves too quickly, bumps into it, or adds a single piece of paper to it, it slides into an avalanche onto the floor. I clean it all out every few years, though I rarely go through it all. With a few hours to spare recently, I decided to attack it, put away the sentimental things, photos of friends….a photo of a man I dated a dozen years ago, birthday cards from my husband from longer ago than that. I decided to get rid of what was no longer relevant, file the business papers in my office, and get rid of the towering stack. There were things in it that went back twenty years, and I found some real treasures, some things that made me laugh, and of course a lot of junk. But some truly great stuff from my kids!!! I saved everything that was special or meant a lot to me, and put it all in a box.

And among the papers, I found some things that had inspired me and I was happy to find. And I thought I’d share two of them with you here, about love, and life.

The first one was written by Mary Baker Eddy: “I make strong demands on love, call for active witnesses to prove it, and noble sacrifices and grand achievements as its results. Unless these appear, I cast aside the word as a sham and counterfeit, having no ring of the true metal. Love cannot be a mere abstraction, or goodness without activity and power”. I like that one a lot.

And the other one is anonymous but touched me too:
“If life is funny, it’s okay to laugh.
If it becomes too difficult, it’s okay to travel with a friend.
If life becomes tragic, it’s okay to cry.
If life becomes impossible, you still have to go on, you can never, ever give up.
If life becomes too lonely, look for someone to take your hand.

And if by some miracle, you find your dreams and they actually come true, remember to count your blessings and whisper thanks.”

I love that message a lot. Have a great week!!

love, Danielle

8/3/15, “So you’re a writer?”

Posted on August 3, 2015

Hi Everyone,

I hope you had a good week, and that August is off to a good start. I’m hoping it will be peaceful. We’ve had something of a turbulent summer, which you know, if you read my blog about Sam Ewing 2 weeks ago, “Fallen Hero”. But we’ve had some really good family time together, which is the best antidote to the pains of ‘real life’. And I had a wonderful 10 day vacation with my 5 youngest children. I am always grateful for time with my kids, when they can spare the time from their jobs and busy lives. And in a few weeks, I’m hoping to spend some time with all my kids. So….onward….

In the comments to last week’s blog, someone mentioned that she was writing her first novel, and said that people were really giving her a hard time about it. And oh do I know that one. Somebody told me years ago that there are two jobs everyone thinks they can do, if they just had the time and wanted to: writing and photography. We all know we can’t be brain surgeons, or lawyers or nuclear physicists unless we study for it for a lot of years. But lots of people think they can write, and everyone takes pictures, so they figure they can do it, if they want to bother. And lots of people are talented writers and photographers, but it’s not quite as easy as some people think, and they might be surprised if they try it!!! (My father was a talented amateur photographer, who sold some of his photographs in later years, and let me tell you, that talent is not hereditary—–I can’t take a photo without cutting everyone’s head off, or get it in focus. Although one of my daughters is a terrific photographer. But I’m never going to win any prizes or set the world on fire with my pictures!!)
» read more »

5/4/15, “The Sun Will Shine Through Rain” (Nick Traina)

Posted on May 4, 2015

Hi Everyone,

I’m sorry I was a no show last week, I was busy writing, and am very happy with what I’ve been working on, and I hope you will be too. Writing is often where I take refuge from real life, and my own problems, it’s a world where I am comfortable, feel at ease, know how to solve the problems in the story, and sometimes when the writing soars, it is pure joy. After doing it for a long time, I still thoroughly enjoy what I do, even though it’s hard work and challenging at times, and even exhausting when I work 20 hour stretches on my old typewriter. Sometimes it’s almost like flying, as you rise above the clouds, and see things more clearly, about life, and intricate situations. And I always fall in love with the characters in the book, and they become real to me, just as they do to you. It’s probably because they do seem real to me that you feel that way too when you read the books. The characters I write about are always fictional, because it would be too limiting to base them on real people. So I’ve been having a great time writing, and I hope you like the book when you read it. (I never tell the story or the title beforehand. It’s more fun to keep it a surprise!! But I think you will love this one, as I do!!) » read more »

2/23/15, Moving Around

Posted on February 23, 2015

Hi Everyone,

I hope last week was a good week for you, and that you got a day off for President’s Day and had a long weekend. I used the day off (my office was closed) to do some travelling, and I am definitely moving around these days. Last week, I visited a new city, Seattle, to meet two of the big distributors of my books, Costco and Amazon, as I told you in last week’s blog. This week, I spent the whole week in a city I know well, and always love: L.A. I had meetings for some very interesting possible new projects, and this seemed like a good time to explore them, between books, so I went to LA for the week. San Franciscans are often snobbish about LA, but I love it, and always have a great time there. For one thing, I left Paris in a snowstorm two weeks ago, landed in New York in freezing weather between two snowstorms, and the weather has been below zero in New York for weeks now. The weather in San Francisco has been nicer than usual for this time of year but not summer, and Seattle was gray and chilly while I was there. I hopped my bus, which is a fun and easy way to travel—I’ve had a rock star bus for 20 years, which was a fantastic way to travel when my kids were younger. Herding 9 kids and all their equipment onto airplanes got complicated and when I had to go to LA for business regularly, when I was making the TV movies (and always took the kids to LA with me). The bus was terrific for all of us then, with comfortable couches and seats, a kitchen and a bathroom. I still use it whenever I have to go to LA, or for trips to the mountains. I can walk around, eat, sleep,work, go barefoot, and do whatever I want. So I got on the bus in San Francisco last Monday, and five and a half hours later, I was in LA, in gorgeous sunny weather, hovering around eighty degrees. It felt like summer, sheer Heaven. It was so wonderful to be in warm weather, and escape wintry cities for a few days. (I felt guilty toward my New York friends, who keep telling me how cold it is with bone-chilling temperatures).

I have new dramatic agents in LA (dramatic agents handle movies and TV, as opposed to my literary agent, who handles my books). And it was exciting spending time with them, getting to know them, and meeting the people they thought I should meet. It was a VERY exciting week, spent mostly on business, and tossing around some ideas. LA is a vibrant city, where much of the business activity centers around the entertainment industry, and if you’re even remotely related to it, it’s exciting and fun. People are busy, working hard, doing interesting creative projects and the names of famous actors, actresses and directors are bandied around like old friends. And even for someone on the fringe of that world as I am (I did 21 movies for TV, based on my books, 20 years ago, and they still show on TV from time to time around the world), the excitement of that milieu is contagious. And last week was particularly exciting in that business, with the Academy Awards only days away. I had a wonderful time meeting people involved in the business, and those who produce everyone’s favorite TV shows and series. TV Series have become one of the most popular forms of entertainment, and everyone seems to be addicted to one show or another. The series I LOVE is Downton Abbey, and have been in love with it for five seasons now. And they say that next year will be the last season!!! (And before it ends, I hope they tie up all the loose ends just the way I want. I email with several friends who also love the show, and we all have our wish list of what should happen next. I love so much about that show: the characters, the script, the touching moments, the dramas, the funny comments, how well written it is, and the fabulous authentic costumes of the period (1924 right now, it started in 1912, with gorgeous costumes), and even the hairdos are fascinating and true to the times. An incredible amount of meticulous research must go into that show. And when I turn it on, I feel like I’m visiting old friends, after 5 years of devotion to them. Sometimes, when I have a bad day, I watch a favorite episode to cheer me up!!) Being around creative people, involved in creating TV shows and movies is always invigorating. So I thoroughly enjoyed my week in LA, the people I met, the meetings I attended, and my new film and TV agents treated me like royalty. I told them that I felt like Cinderella at the Ball. When no one is spoiling me this week, I will feel like Cinderella after the coach turned back into a pumpkin and the coachmen into 6 white mice!! I’ll be back in my cozy old cashmere nightgown (with the holes in it), at my typewriter at my desk. I won’t be meeting any new creative people, the weather will probably be foggy and gloomy, and no one will be squiring me around!!! Back to real life. LA always has an unreal/movie quality to it, and going back home afterwards is always something of a jolt. But I sure had fun while I was there, and my agents were incredibly kind to me, and even took me to dinner twice. They are both wonderful people, and I really enjoyed their company and discovering their world. They’re terrific, and are already two new friends, and it was a pleasure working with them, and their abundance of ideas.

So it’s been a very lively two weeks for me, ‘out in the world’, and now I have work to do, a set of galleys to edit (the last stage before a book goes to the printer, and my last chance to change anything that needs correcting), and I have an audio script to correct for one of my books to be read on CD. (I have to pick the actor’s voice for that too). And I’ll have to deal with everything that piled up on my desk while I was in LA. But what a fun week it was, definitely a Cinderella experience!!…..and now back to real life. Have a great week!!

love, Danielle

PS. AND DON’T FORGET THAT MY NEW BOOK “PRODIGAL SON” COMES OUT IN HARDCOVER TOMORROW!!! As the publisher says, “it’s a novel of suspicion, betrayal, and suspense”. It’s full of doubts and questions, and the mystery as to who is good and who is evil, with two men who are twins as the main characters, and all the people and complications in their lives. It’s an exciting book, and I worked hard on it. I hope you love it, and have a chance to read it soon!!! love, D.

Filed Under Travel, Writing | 7 Comments

7/21/14, Lazy Days

Posted on July 21, 2014

Hi Everyone,

I hope that all is well with you and that the summer is rolling out nicely for you, with some time to relax, enjoy your families, take time off (and hopefully read a book or two. I have a new book coming out in hardcover tomorrow, “A Perfect Life”. I hope it will be the perfect summer read for you!!).

As I’ve confessed to you before, among my many confessions to you, I’m a creature of habit, AND I am not good at relaxing. I always love having something to do, and getting me to just sit still and take a vacation and enjoy some down time is no easy task. I always think I should be accomplishing something, writing an outline, helping one of my children, doing spring cleaning, or pulling a closet apart. But in spite of that, I take a vacation with my five youngest children every summer, and it is one of the best moments of the year for me, wherever we are, rivalled only by a week together at Christmas with all of my kids. We have gone to the same hotel every summer—we used to spend three weeks there, but now with all of my kids working, and busy with their careers, we are grateful to have a week together. And in spite of myself, eventually I unwind and actually relax. And it is sheer heaven being with them. We swim, lie in the sun, have meals together, they tell some hair raising stories of pranks and mischief they committed when they were younger, and are thrilled to tell me everything I didn’t know, which they think is hysterically funny now. We share long lazy meals, go to favorite restaurants, play games like Scrabble and cards, and a recent addition called “Catch Phrase”, which I love, it’s a little bit like charades where you have to describe a word, with a timer ticking, while everyone tries to guess the word, and pass the game along before the buzzer sounds.  Some years they come with their boyfriends and girlfriends, or just a friend, and sometimes they come alone. Only one of the younger five is married, and my son in law fits right in with the rest of my ‘kids’ (in their mid and late 20’s now), and is a welcome addition to the group.  It is one of the rare times of the year when we all relax together, enjoy each others’ company, reminisce about old times when they were little and other vacations we shared. And we have gone to the same hotel for about 25 years, all of their lives. Many of the same people still work there, and it’s like meeting up with old friends every year. » read more »